Child Labor

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Child Labor
It is widely accepted that one of the key components to a healthy future is a good education. Education is so important that in most well-developed countries, it is the law, with a punishment for refusing to go to school. However, children around the world are deprived of this essential right. These children are unlawfully forced into working long hours in horrible conditions, and are often in contact with hazardous materials. Child labor occurs the most in areas of high poverty as well as lack of schooling. In some parts of Africa, 50% of children age 5-14 are employed. Most of these children work in agriculture, which is not necessarily dangerous work, but can become very physically draining when the child is worked for excessive amounts of time without a break. Many other children work in mines, which are inherently dangerous due to the lack of safety standards. They could be exposed to dangerous chemicals and there is a very high risk for injury. The world has declared this a violation of basic human rights, because it ruins the futures of children at an early age, essentially killing any chance they could have had to be successful.

There are two major concerns around the area of child labor: lack of education and health issues. In areas of high poverty, there are generally not enough schools to educate all the children. Therefore, many children get a job to help support their family. Although it may help provide food and keep the family alive, it also keeps the family in poverty, as knowledge is one of the most important factors of wealth. Also, families in extreme poverty who do have an opportunity to send their children to school often choose not to because they require the extra income. The other main area of concern about child labor is health risks. First of all, children are still developing, meaning they are at a much greater risk than an adult would be when dealing with hazardous chemicals or any other material that can change how they develop. According to an International Labor Organization survey, one quarter of all working children have suffered a work-related injury or have been diagnosed with an illness that can be traced back to their work. Many of the countries where child labor occurs there are no laws against it, as well as few laws even dictating how a company must treat its employees. This means that there is no requirement for equal wages, no guarantee of a safe workplace environment, and no protection against sexual harassment at work. Young children especially who are not qualified for labor intensive jobs can suffer debilitating injuries that can cripple them for the rest of their life. Along with physical injury there is also dehydration, malnutrition, lack of sleep, disease, and other slow but potentially life-threatening issues present in 3rd world workplaces.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights dictates rights that all humans are guaranteed. This group works to make these rights laws within each country, and also has ways to prosecute major violators of these rights. Child labor can and often does violate articles 23, 24, 25, and 26 of UDHR. These articles guarantee everyone a healthy life, both in the workplace and out, ensuring that people are not forced to work an unreasonable amount of time and work without occasional paid vacations. They also guarantee the right to a free education, one which also teaches effectively and on a wide variety of subjects. Since child labor takes kids out of schools and puts them into unsafe working environments, these international rights are often ignored.

According to the Child Labor Index of 2012, 40% of all the surveyed countries are at “extreme risk” for child labor. It evaluates the frequency and severity of reported child labor incidents in 197 different countries, and gives a list of the 10 worst violators. First place in 2012 was a four-way tie between Myanmar, North Korea, Somalia, and Sudan. In Sudan, nearly one third of...
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